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John Crotty (left) and Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, Irish Defence Forces.

Summary – John Crotty is an Irish author hailing from County Waterford in the countries south where he grew up steeped in the stories of west Waterford. A frequent traveller, John has explored over 60 countries and visited many of the worlds wonders, satisfying a deep interest in Irish and global history. John has held CEO level positions including a six year spell as CEO at ‘Ireland’s Alcatraz‘, Spike Island Cork. John currently works in the public sector for Cork City Council in the Strategic and Economic development directorate, while providing consultancy based on previous experience.

John is presently writing non-fiction titles related to his work with historical sites both Irish and international, as well as fictional titles. A first book is on the complete history of Spike Island was released in April 2024, the first title to comprehensively share the islands full 1300 year history.

John is passionate about the stories of people and place, discovering and sharing history and folklore and seeing others succeed.

In his own words

‘I look back now and see a strong storytelling tradition growing up in the Deise. The TV was rarely on, except for the Late Late Show, G.A.A and the Angelus. Evenings were spent by the fire. The silence was punctuated by splintering turf and coal, the tick of a clock.  It was 1980’s Ireland but it might as well have been the 1880’s. You’d miss the silence.

People spoke. My grandfather would talk of the Free State and a young Ireland finding its feet. My granduncle Thomas was a walking talking history book. He never left the parish except for the hurling. He knew every blade of grass and stone and every secret they hid. The banshee, the battle of Affane, Petticoat loose – they were all regular visitors. My grandmother Peg made time for stories – after prayers of course! You had to ‘trust in God’!

A second granduncle was a missionary to Africa all his life. He spent his days in Nigeria building villages and much time in Rome on his way home for rare breaks. He would frequent the Vatican Libraries on these breaks, privilege most of us can only dream of. On the other side of the family my grandfather Johnnie of Villierstown was a fisherman all his life. He could tell you the tide to within an inch at any given moment. The man lived by the land and the currents as had centuries before him.

My parents gave us a house full of books, with Readers Digest arriving regularly. They encouraged me to travel and after a slow start and a disappointing college dropout, I moved to Wales alone aged 23. There were lonely times but it came good and I graduated there and visited over sixty countries in ten years, seeing the world’s wonders. I felt like I was doing the travelling my grandparents hadn’t and my own parents until later in their lives.

I was lucky to manage an Irish wonder on my return in Spike Island, and the stories I heard there led to this book. We are blessed with history in Ireland. Its not just all around us – its in us. It is of us and we of it. No one has a longer memory than the Irish’.

Holidaying in Bali
John Crotty – Trevi Fountain, Rome. John has a deep personal and family connection to the Italian city.
John Crotty speaking to Ring of Cork members – 2019